"Young Blood Season 2" premiered on July 29th, 2023, with main cast includes Zhang Xincheng, Zhou Yutong, Wang Youshuo, Su Xiaotong, Zheng Wei, Fu Weilun, and others.
After a four-year hiatus, "Young Blood Season 2" has arrived as scheduled with the original team behind its creation. What's different this time is that Wang Juan not only served as the script planner but also personally took on the role of screenwriter. Such sincerity undoubtedly raises high expectations among viewers for a new round of plot developments.
The second season continues the storyline and character settings from the first season. Set during the Qingli period in the Northern Song Dynasty era when young spies were trained in the Secret Pavilion by the Bureau of Military Affairs, it revolves around six intelligent and resourceful youths: Yuan Zhongxin who possesses great wisdom; Zhao Jian who combines beauty with quick-wittedness; Xiao Jing who refuses to take lives; Wang Kuan who never tells lies; Xue Ying who prefers solitude; and Wei Ya Nei (Wei Yuan) who has an outgoing personality, together they form Qi Zhai. After going through numerous life-and-death trials, they experience personal growth while remaining united and loyal to their country.
In the first season mainly focused on their studies at Secret Pavilion along with completing dangerous missions which led them to forge friendships, experience love relationships and grow individually. However in this second season, Secret Pavilion gets disbanded forcing these young heroes to embark on an even more perilous journey. Utilizing their intelligence and wit , they manage to overcome the dangers threatening the Song Dynasty, and finally set foot on the path back home.
Compared to the first season, this second season has undergone a comprehensive upgrade. Wei Ya Nei's character is now portrayed by Fu Weilun, and it seems that loyal fans have not abandoned the drama due to this change in cast. On contrary, they find this version of Ya Nei more amusing. The opening line from Xiao Jing "Ya Nei, how did you change?" is seen as an official joke which adds marketing effect both within and outside of the drama.
Furthermore, there has been a complete upgrade in terms of plot development. The comedic elements have increased without diminishing those from the first season; romantic storylines have also been amplified to meet current audience demands for love dramas. Moreover, new intriguing characters will be introduced in this second season such as members of Ba Zhai, Yuan Hao - lord of Da Xia kingdom, and Ning Ling Ge - Crown Prince of Western Xia kingdom who all make appearances within the first ten episodes. In this second season, Wei Ya Nei will also experience his own sweet romance.
Back then, "Young Blood" emerged as a true dark horse among various high-budget costume dramas despite being made with limited resources. Now, just after its premiere, "Young Blood Season 2" has already sparked hot discussions among netizens and garnered many positive reviews.
Tightly paced plot
At the end of the first part, Yuan Zhongxin tragically loses his elder brother while Zhao Jian disappears. The remaining five members of Qi Zhai embark on a journey to find Zhao Jian in Western Xia. The second part continues the storyline from the first part, fearing that audiences may have forgotten the previous story due to time passage, so a brief recap is provided at the beginning of Episode 1.
In the first part, just as Secret Pavilion Academy was newly established, most of the plot revolved around it. The six member of Qi Zhai gathered there as young undercover agents with hidden motives. It wasn't until later that these young agents matured and ventured out from their study room to pursue greater ambitions. However, at the beginning of Part Two, Secret Pavilion is destroyed and they travel to Western Xia in search for Zhao Jian before narrowly escaping back to Kaifeng.
While in Western Xia, Yuan Zhongxin learns from Yuan Hao's words that his own father has betrayed Da Song Dynasty and he himself is actually Xianbei people with similar bloodline as those from Daxia Empire. With failed persuasion by Yuan Hao, Yuan Zhongxin and others decide to find out more about his father's actions. Henceforth, season 2 revolves around their quest for Yuan's father.
Within just ten episodes at the beginning, there is already a richly developed plot with a fast pace that seems filled with questions but promptly provides answers in next moments.
- Ding Er who had been causing trouble finally transforms into Ning Ling, the crown prince of Western Xia Empire.
- Zhao Jian finally gets to meet her long-lost father only for him pass away due illness.
- When both Zhao Jian and Yuan Zhongxin are captured by Yuán Hào, Ning Ling unexpectedly leads troops into rescue them because they have a secret collaboration.
- During their escape, they encounter Wei Zhuoran's father who has already sided with Yuán Hào, yet he still gives horses to Zhao Jian and the others to help them flee.
In just a few episodes, it seems that the audience's perception of previous characters is refreshed. Who is truly good or bad remains ambiguous, leaving everything to be explained in subsequent revelations. However, season 2 also continues the theme of "rebellion against fathers". Yuan Zhongxin has faced lack of paternal love since childhood and has always relied on his elder brother for support. Therefore, he holds deep misunderstandings towards his father; now learning that his own father may be a traitor, he is even more determined to find him and uncover the truth.
Wang Kuan comes from an educated family background, and his father sent him to Secret Pavilion hoping he would inherit the family business. However, in previous work Wang Kuan refuses to abandon his friendship with Qi Zhai members, and in season two, we witness a heartwarming scene where he defends Qi Zhai after his father criticizes each member individually.
Regrettably, Zhao Jian no longer has this opportunity as she did in before when confronting her father; her father's passing seems like an indication of the older generation exiting the stage of history while young people shoulder the responsibility of defending their homeland. The rebellion against fathers complements perfectly with the theme of growth. Without Secret Pavilion as their sanctuary anymore, can Qi Zhai members rebuild a new one together with Lu Nanshan? Can they eliminate Song Dynasty’s calamities?
Suspenseful + Humor
The historical detective drama genre has been on the rise in recent years, with series like "Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty," "Ancient Detective," and "Young Blood" creating a small wave. The first part of "Young Blood" consists of seven cases, captivating countless viewers with its combination of comedy and suspense.
The second part continues the same style, even surpassing the first part in terms of humor. With audiences being exposed to numerous mystery dramas, some may have grown weary, but without the comedic element, it would be difficult to achieve an effect where viewers can relax while watching. In fact, the comedic elements in "Young Blood" are even more prominent than its suspenseful plotlines; almost every suspenseful moment is accompanied by three humorous moments that make viewers want to binge-watch.
Firstly, this drama can be described as an ensemble comedy. Wei Ya Nei, who always gets headaches when reading books, enters a mysterious inn and jokingly says that "this place is against me everywhere." It turns out that the inn is filled with various books.
Wang Kuan never tells lies and becomes a comedic force in the drama; he ensures that every word he speaks is true. When he conspires with Yuan Zhong Xin and Zhao Jian to deceive Yu Chi Yuan by speaking only truth while linking his words together with Yuan Zhong Xin's statements successfully deceives Yu Chi Yuan.
The sweet interaction between Yuan Zhong Xin and Zhao Jian also brings laughter to viewers' faces. Besides six members of the Qi Zhai, secondary characters are equally comical - especially Yu Chi Yuan who often falls victim to tricks played by the main characters.
Secondly, comedy serves as a seasoning to enhance the plot. For example, when main characters split into two groups to follow Yu Chi Yuan in search of Yuan Zhong Xin's father: on the surface, Yuan Zhong Xin, Zhao Jian, and Xue Ying with Yu Chi Yuan while secretly Wei Yuan, Wang Kuan, Xiao Jing, and Lu Nan Shan follow along with another group disguised as cloak-wearing travelers.
They encounter a mysterious village during their journey; it is sparsely populated except for an old lady worshipping a headless dragon statue. Yu Chi Yuan, who respects deities, becomes the biggest comedic force in this segment by volunteering to worship the Dragon King. Coincidentally, when Yu Chi Yuan and others arrive at the only inn in this area they bump into Wei Ya Nei's group whom they had assumed was absent from that inn; however when Yuan Zhong Xin opens the cabinet door at that moment all six of them holding their luggage tightly squeezed inside creates an amusing scene while both him and Zhao Jian pretend "there is no one here."
The dense humor points combined with tight suspense create major highlights of this drama. Additionally, several couple pairings in this drama are very well-developed making straightforward love affairs highly enjoyable.
Audiences have always criticized love dramas for prolonging misunderstandings between male and female leads without proper communication or confession until reaching towards end before achieving happy ending.
However recent years have seen TV dramas taking more direct approaches towards depicting romantic relationships - "Young Blood Season 2" hardly conceals anything compared to its first part where elements like mutual understanding between Yuan Zhong Xin and Zhao Jian were only revealed during life-threatening situations.
In the second part, every character openly expresses their love for one another, which greatly satisfies viewers. Zhao Jian even proposes to Yuan Zhong Xin while they are in prison; the two of them hold a formal engagement ceremony inside the cell. This action leaves Lu Nan Shan and Yu Chi Yuan dumbfounded and amazes everyone who hears about it.
The love story between Wang Kuan and Xiao Jing is also well-developed. When Wang Kuan returns home, his father harshly criticizes all his friends including Xiao Jing, suspecting that they conspired with Han's family due to past correspondence exchanged between them - order Wang Kuan to be cautious towards Xiao Jing.
In other dramas, perhaps the writers would have allowed suspicion and mistrust between Wang Kuan and Xiao Jing before resolving those issues after several episodes; however, instead of deceiving Xiao Jing, Wang Kuan reveals evidence gathered against his father and together they face the crisis caused by their families' actions which strengthens their bond.
After four years of refinement "Young Blood Season 2" has reached new heights in terms of characters development plotlines, and style as it better understands what audiences desire from a drama - although rapid pace can cause some viewers to overlook certain details leading them to lose interest in continuing watching. However none of this can prevent "Young Blood Season 2" from attracting more fans with its charm as compared to first part it excels further.